Massive Traffic Jams Leave Thousands Stranded
Atlanta (CNN) — A day after some three inches of snow paralyzed the country’s ninth-largest city, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed blamed the resulting gridlock on decisions by schools, business and government to send people home at the same time.
“People were making a lot of independent decisions,” he told reporters Wednesday. “What we will do in the future is try to coordinate that, and make a strong recommendation about how that should flow.”
Asked who was at fault, he said, “I’m not to get into that blame game, but the crisis that we’re going through is across the region. So, if you look at anybody’s street in any community across the entire region, there’s no one who’s doing any better job than we’re doing in the city of Atlanta.”
In an interview with CNN’s Carol Costello, Reed said he has been working non-stop and had accomplished a lot. “We got 1 million people in the City of Atlanta out of the city; we haven’t had any fatalities in the City of Atlanta; we got all of the children who were on school buses in the APS system off of those buses, and I’ve been communicating with the people of the city on a constant basis.”
But, he said, the timing of the closures was not his call. In the case of when students were sent home, it was up to the Atlanta Public Schools, and the responsibility for clearing the freeways was the state’s, he said.
“The bottom line is that I said, if I had my druthers, we would have staggered the closings.”
Reed further noted that the city responded better than it did after a 2011 ice storm, which stopped the city dead in its tracks for four days.
The city now has 30 spreaders, 40 snowplows and 70,000 tons of sand and gravel versus just four pieces of equipment three years ago, he said.
“Nothing was done because no one had any equipment,” he said about the 2011 incident.